VOLUME 6 Back to the EWT website  
   ED's Note  

February is the month of love, a month for showing that special person in your life just how much they mean to you. It is also the month of Aquarius, which makes us focus on water, and the plight of our wetlands is highlighted. We're made aware once again of how invaluable water is in a semi-arid country like South Africa. Every drop of water is precious. It can be difficult to realise how precious it is when you readily have it on tap - something we tend to take for granted.

World Wetlands Day was celebrated on the 2nd of February with a focus on the value of wetlands as a contributor to livelihoods. It is heartening to know that a real difference is being made in conserving these ecological wonders, not only by conservation organisations like the Endangered Wildlife Trust, but also at a national level, with events having taken place around the country last week to raise public awareness.

Give the gift of love this month by choosing one of the gifts the Endangered Wildlife Trust has to offer on http://www.ewt.org.za/gifts_home.aspx. Make someone smile and brighten their lives. Not just on Valentine's Day, but every day of February. - The Editor

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Eco News
Eco Facts
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  Wish List
An International Partnership for African Cranes, Wetlands and Communities

The International Crane Foundation (ICF), a USA-based conservation NGO and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), South Africa’s leading applied conservation NGO have entered into a partnership to implement projects throughout southern and east Africa using cranes as flagships for improved wetland sustainability and in turn, local community livelihoods sustainability. Stemming from this formal ICF / EWT Partnership, it is hoped that further partnerships will be developed to secure the future of Africa’s wetlands for the many lives depending on them.

Click here to read more.

Contact: Kerryn Morrison Kerryn@ewt.org.za

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Good news about bullfrogs at Glen Austin Pan

Glen Austin Pan (GAP) in Midrand represents the largest, natural breeding site for the Giant Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) in the greater Midrand area. Over the past fifteen years though, concern has been growing amongst researchers, conservation authorities and residents, all of whom have witnessed a precipitous decline in the abundance of bullfrogs at GAP. Thousands of bullfrogs reportedly bred at GAP in the 1980s, but during the summer of 2003/2004 and 2004/2005, the author observed no more than 200 bullfrogs per breeding event at this site. Increased development and road traffic, rather than unfavourable environmental conditions, are presumed to be


behind the demise.

Click here to read more.

  Caroline Yetman (Project Executant of the Giant Bullfrog Project, EWT) or email cayetman@zoology.up.ac.za  
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Help us investigate owl deaths

Speeding along a highway at night, many people have had the misfortune of colliding with an owl chasing after food. Nocturnal animals are likely to freeze at the very moment they should be fleeing, as they are blinded by car headlights. Besides killing the animal, this can also lead to serious accidents as motorists swerve to avoid collision. With the help of the public, The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Working Group is combating this problem.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Working Group (BoPWG) is developing an online database at www.ewt.org.za/owls. With the help of road users, we hope to collect substantial data on owl road kills across the country.


Click here to read more.

Contact Hayley Komen email hayleyk@ewt.org.za

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Eco News
Strange looking whale, dwarf sperm whale strands on KZN coast.

On the beach

Recently (20/01/2006), a rather strange looking animal stranded in Richards Bay, KZN. A local jogger spotted the “dolphin” early in the morning high and dry but still alive. He struggled single-handedly to get the animal back into the water and succeeded, though it just beached itself again. He then did exactly the right thing and called the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Dolphin Research team and Sea World and then covered the animal with a wet towel, to keep its skin moist.

photographed by:Brett Atkins
  Click here to read more.

Contact: Shanan Atkins, e-mail: shanan@dolphins.org.za
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World Wetlands Day 2006

Wetlands & Livelihoods

In the face of poverty, wetlands are lifelines
On February 2nd this year the wetlands community celebrated the value of wetlands as contributors to livelihoods. The focus was not only on mainstream economic contributions such as tourism and water provision, but also on wetlands as important sources of wild food, grazing, cultivation land and materials for crafts. Although not always sources of hard cash, the livelihoods values of wetlands are irreplaceable in many rural households.


Click here to read more.

Visit these websites for more information.
www.wetlands.co.za ; www.ramsar.org ; www.wetlands.org

Media Enquiries:
Cobus Meiring; cobus@naturalbridge.co.za ; 083-626 7619


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Calling all Bird Photographers - Amateur or Professional!!

Sun City BirdWatch is a 5 month long Bird Photo Competition celebration of the abundant bird life that have made their home on the resort. Bird-loving visitors are encouraged to appreciate our feathered friends while testing your photographic skills. Win prizes to the value of over R30 000.00!!!!


The competition aims to celebrate all types of bird photography and there are 2 categories you can enter, with the overall winner receiving the ultimate accolade title of SUN CITY WILDBIRD PHOTOGRAPHER 2005/6!

Click here for the questionnaire if you are interested.

For more information visit:
http://www.esun.co.za/campaign/highlife_turnuptheheat/birdWatch2005/index.asp or email enviro@sunint.co.za

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GABON – Pleasures, Travel Hardships and Problems

Date: 14 March 2006 Venue The Johannesburg Country Club, Napier Road, Auckland Park

Garth and Gail Diers traveled to Gabon by road via Angola, the DRC, Cabinda and the Congo and had many varied and exciting experiences which will keep you enthralled. Their love for Africa, with its multiplicity of cultures and amazing geographic diversity, has taken them on many trips on the continent, mainly on the East Coast, including two from Cape to Cairo by motorbike. This expedition to Gabon, however, was in a Landcruiser 4 x 4 together with four other vehicles and was an “off-road” experience of note, even when traveling on so called main roads. Be prepared when traveling in West Africa!

Click here to read more.

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"Love is in the Air" Valentine's Day celebration @ The Durban Bonanic Gardens
Valentines Concert - Durban Botanic Gardens, Tues 14 February starting at 6:30pm

The Friends of the Durban Botanic Gardens is proud to announce that Mr Price Group is our new sponsor for the 2006 Music at the Lake concerts in the Durban Botanic Gardens. We begin the season with a flourish and invite you to celebrate Valentines Day with us on Tuesday 14 February starting at 6:30pm. The Durban Botanic Gardens is the most romantic setting to relax and enjoy Valentines Day.


Click here to read more.

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Oribi Working Group get coverage on DSTV on 21 February at 19h00

The Kyknet ‘Groen’ programme going out on 21 February is related to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Oribi Working Group.

Programme Name: Oribi Gorge
Broadcast: 19h30 DSTV ch 35 (kykNET)
Description: Along the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, slightly inland, you will find Oribi Gorge. Dave goes in search of the rare Oribi and explores one of South Africa’s most beautiul landscapes.

Make sure not to miss this programme on this endangered Antelope, the Oribi showing on DSTV on 21/2 19:30

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5 water tips
Water your garden in the early morning to prevent excessive evaporation.
Plant indigenous plants – in general, they require less water.
Don’t buy water toys that require a constant stream of water
Cover the swimming pool to slow down the evaporation of water.
A pressure control valve controls the fluctuation of pressure through the home's plumbing system and prevents imbalances in the system. Reduced flow pressure reduces the amount of water used. The main benefits: water saving and a balance between hot and cold water systems

‘Excerpts from Green Peace international’

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Wish List

The EWT has a wish list that you could contribute to. From time to time, we at the EWT require items to assist in providing a suitable working environment for our staff. As most of our funds are spent on conservation, we would greatly appreciate your assistance for the following items:

PA system
Hi-Fi system
•  Bicycles
5 x Hands-free telephone headsets

Click here to read more.

Our field workers often work in hard conditions with not much equipment so they get extremely excited when we can supply them with equipment to make their lives easier and more efficient.

Please contact Penny Buthelezi on (011) 486-1102 or email her on wishlist@ewt.org.za to organise for deliveries, and collections where necessary.

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Eco facts
Did You Know?
In KwaZulu/Natal, 58% of the wetlands associated with the Mfolozi River catchment have disappeared as a result of siltation caused by erosion of overgrazed lands.
  Wetlands and wildlife  
Wetlands are filters where sediments and nutrients accumulate, so many plants grow there, e.g. bulrushes, grasses, reeds, waterlilies, sedges and trees. The plants, in turn, provide food and a place for attachment and shelter for many creatures. There is more life, hectare for hectare, in a healthy wetland than in almost any other habitat. These productive places support huge numbers of insects, fish, birds and other animals. Some animals are completely dependant on wetlands, whilst others use wetlands for only part of their lives. The wattled crane, for example, is dependant on wetlands for breeding. The rich diversity of waterbirds in southern Africa (totalling 130 species) is possible because of the many wetlands spread across the sub-continent. The wetlands of southern Africa are of international importance as they are the southern destination for many migratory wading birds.
  People and wetlands  
Wetlands have been used for centuries as grazing for domestic stock, and as a source of reeds used for thatching, hut construction and basket weaving. They are provide fishing, hunting and the opportunity to observe wildlife, especially birds. Wetlands are appreciated for their beauty as open spaces and also for their educational value.
What you can do to help wetlands
The Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism runs a wetland conservation programme and all interested people are invited to participate.
Get to know the wetlands in your area and list the plants and animals growing there. Draw a map of the wetland's position, size and usage. Take photographs of the wetlands from fixed vantage points and at different seasons of the year to compare the changes between seasons and from year to year.
Report the abuse of wetlands to your local nature conservation, agricultural extension officer or Department of Environment Affairs. Always make your report in writing to ensure that the officer concerned has to investigate.
Online facts developed by J. Collins & G. Maneveldt from The Department of Biodiversity & Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape
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Auto Motive offering for EWT

EWT members have the opportunity to claim their voucher of R99, and use it any Tiger Wheel and Tyre stores.

Click here to read more, or members click here to login to the EWT site and read more about this fabulous discount.

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